Thai Images: The Culture of the Public Worldby Niels Mulder
In this anthropological approach to the public world in Thailand, Niels Mulder investigates how Thai people in the urban middle classes think, and learn to think, about life outside of their private associations among family and friends. Taking a detailed look at the social studies curriculum, Mulder identifies perspectives on Thai society and individual moral and social obligations that children are taught and grow up believing. His search for dominant paradigms uncovers a strong emphasis on the idealized family unit as the basic model of society, with hierarchy, moral inequality, and obligation as its backbone. He goes on to analyze newspapers, contemporary fiction, National Identity Office material, as well as the general public debate itself, and makes insightful observations on the "images" that animate urban Thai public opinion. He concludes that the state still holds an advantage on the production of images for the people of modern Thailand.
"Now, with Thai Images, (Mulder) has focused again on this part of the mainland, at a time of economic and political crisis, providing a substantial critique of the way a tenaciously conservative culture struggles with its need to modernise, its members in the process learning 'to think about the social world surrounding their private experiences'. And once again, the insights Mulder affords, the information he provides, will be invaluable for anyone interested in this region."—John Cadet
Niels Mulder is an anthropologist who has been actively engaged with Thai ways of life for more than thirty years. His best-known title is Inside Thai Society: Interpretations of Everyday Life.